Golden Rule? And just where does that get you?

What is this Golden Rule that tells me to treat others as I would be treated? Who said, and how come? It's not pleasant thinking about the impacts of what I do on others, conjuring up all that negative imagery. It's cumbersome and inconvenient. And sad, really, that others aren't able to figure out how to get treated better themselves. What lame person can't understand that you can get everything you want if you stop worrying about the other guy and focus on what's most important? Which is, of course, yourself.

The Golden Rule holds too many great people back and needs to be reexamined. It's been around forever – too long. So many big religions offer it up like it's some potion that will heal us all. (Not mine, of course – we're all about prosperity, not dependency.) But obviously the rule doesn't work or the world wouldn't be such a disaster. This rule is a loser. And "Golden"? Gold isn't the shiniest thing on the street anymore and it's way too soft.

Why not, instead, a Platinum Rule: "Do unto me as I would have you do unto me; do unto you as I wish." I like the simplicity of it, the manageable scope. It's much more clear and efficient to stick with what we know – our own desires. No use speculating about what strangers may be thinking or feeling. Platinum captures this perfectly, with a glow so bright it's hard to see anything else in its presence.

Or how about the Chrome Rule: "Do unto me, and me, and me. Forget about you." I happen to love chrome, even though it's cheaper than platinum and not nearly as classy. You see it everywhere – car bumpers, home appliances, buildings. But it still catches my reflection beautifully whenever I face it, capturing for those brief moments a world in which everything and everyone else falls away. There I am, bold and sharp, front and center. Gotta love chrome.

But of all the options, and I could go on, I think my favorite is the Diamond Rule: "Let others despair so that I may prosper." Diamonds are so hard they can scratch anything and leave a permanent mark. They're great for cutting and gouging. Of course, women love them for other reasons. Pendants, rings, you name it. (Frankly, it can get out of hand.) But what's not to love about diamonds? They're much stronger than gold, and they don't exude that sickly yellow warmth. They're clear and no-nonsense, like ice.

With so much pathetic stuff going on everywhere these days, you have to wonder where this Golden Rule has taken us. Did anyone ever really think that human beings would give the needs of others the same consideration as their own? Did anyone ever really believe that we would devote as much to our collective survival as to our individual success? I don't know about you, but I don't know anyone who lives that way. In my family, we know what the ultimate prize is, and we know how to get there without carrying the weight of the world.

The Golden Rule runs against our instincts and it's time to let it go. Let us instead embrace the Diamond Rule, which is much more true to our nature. Let's replace the call to be our brother's keeper – a fake idea if ever there was one! – with the call to be what we all truly want to be: winners, whatever it takes.


Barbara Hood is a retired lawyer. She lives in Anchorage.

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